Author Interviews, Lancet, MRSA, NIH / 18.01.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Otto PhD Senior Investigator Laboratory of Bacteriology Chief of the Pathogen Molecular Genetics Section NIAID, NIH Bethesda, MD 20814 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response:  Staphylococcus aureus is one the of the most important causes of infectious diseases worldwide. It is known mostly for causing skin infections in the community and as a hospital-associated pathogen. It is in fact the most frequent cause of infections patients acquire in the hospital when they are weakened by underlying diseases or immune-suppressing therapy. The type of infections Staph can cause in these situations are diverse – comprising bone, lung, and blood infections (sepsis) - and can be quite severe and often fatal. Except for moderately severe skin infections that may not require antibiotic treatment, treatment of Staph infections is by antibiotics. S. aureus has naturally been very responsive to penicillin-type antibiotics, but already in the mid of the last century, resistance to penicillin spread worldwide. Then, methicillin was invented to overcome this resistance, but nowadays there also is considerable spread of methicillin-resistant strains (MRSA). The current situation is difficult for two reasons:
  • First, S. aureus has become increasingly resistant to many antibiotics, and
  • Second, the alternatives to methicillin are often by far not as efficient as penicillin/methicillin against Staph.
Researchers have therefore been searching for alternatives to antibiotics to treat Staph infections. Unfortunately, vaccines that work against Staph have not yet been produced despite intensive efforts for decades. Other modern approaches of treatment, like virulence-targeted drugs or phages are still only at the early investigational level. As with many diseases, an alternative to treatment is prevention. In the case of S. aureus, a type of preventative strategy that has often been proposed and tested is decolonization. This is based on the fact that ~ 1/3 of the population is naturally colonized with S. aureus (asymptomatically), and these colonized people have an increased risk of being infected. In other words, Staph infections stem from the Staph you carry on your body and which only under certain conditions causes infection. Thus, eliminating the colonizing Staph would reduce the risk for infection, which is the basis for Staph decolonization-based infection prevention strategies. (more…)
Author Interviews, NEJM, Pulmonary Disease, Tobacco Research, University of Michigan / 04.09.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Meilan K Han MD, MS Henry Sewall Professor of Medicine Professor of Internal Medicine and Section Head Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical School University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the NIH sponsored SPIROMICS study we demonstrated that symptomatic, tobacco exposed individuals have frequent exacerbations. Many of these individuals are treated with the same inhaled medications that have shown benefit in COPD, but we don’t have any evidence basis for this practice. (more…)
Author Interviews, Ophthalmology, PLoS / 20.01.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Jugnoo S Rahi Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology and Honorary Consultant Ophthalmologist NIHR Senior Investigator Head, Vision and Eyes Group UCL HeadPopulation Policy and Practice Research and Teaching Department GOS ICH UCL Director, Ulverscroft Vision Research Group  GOS Institute of Child Health UCL / Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Institute of Ophthalmology UCL / NIHR Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre Chair, Academic Committee Chair, British Ophthalmological Surveillance Unit Executive Committee Royal College of Ophthalmologists  MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?    Response: We hypothesised that if changing environmental factors, in particular educational experience, are accounting for increasing frequency of myopia in the UK, a cohort effect would be discernible in changing associations with myopia, with different profiles for childhood and adult-onset forms. We investigated this using the UK Biobank Study, a unique large contemporary adult population sample whose members, born over a period of more than three decades, have undergone a detailed ophthalmic examination. This affords the opportunity to analyse ‘historical’ cohorts covering a period of important socio-demographic, economic, and educational change in the UK from which current and emerging trends may be identified and examined. Drawing on our previous proof-of-concept study, we investigated whether there were differences between childhood-onset versus adult-onset myopia in temporal trends in both frequency and severity and in associations with key environmental factors. (more…)